SAN Juan, Batangas — The cold weather and the shortened race presented a suddenly unique challenge, and national team mainstay John Leerams Chicano proved quickest to adjust to rule Tri United 2 on Sunday in this resort town.
With the triathlon reduced to a duathlon due to the weather — the 2.5-kilometer swim was scratched 15 minutes before the 6 a.m. gunstart and the race trimmed to a 60km bike and a 15km run — Chicano felt he was at a disadvantage against strong bike riders in the Male Elite division.
The Olongapo-based triathlete managed to make necessary changes in his race to finish in two hours, 29 minutes and 36 seconds, well ahead of Chicano's ULAH teammates August Benedicto (2:33:46) and Benjamin Rana (2:35:45).
"Malalakas ang kalaban ko, sina Augusto Benedicto at Deo Timbol, ang plano mag-pace sa kanila sa bike at mag-break away sa run. Nung nalaman ko na nawala 'yung swim inadjust ko kaagad yung game plan ko alam ko maiiwan ako ng ibang competitors sa bike e," said Chicano.
In the distaff side, Fitness First's Doray Ellis came away with first place ahea of Lezette Arbolete of Team Herbalife in second followed by Keshia Fule of Wu Crew.
Young RP Team members Marc Alexander Altura and Vicky Deldio came in first in their respective divisions in the Sprint Category.
The second edition of the popular triathlon series was turned into a duathlon after organizer Bike King decided to scrap the swim portion off the Laiya coast due to strong waves caused by the inclement weather.
Still, the heavy rains failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the 800 racers and 13 teams that took part, even welcoming the cooler weather as a break from the hot temperature that was the norm in past editions.
To compensate, an additional 20-minutes were added to the start time of each participant in the Long Distance. The Sprint category of 20K bike and 5K run also dispensed with the swim portion.
In a Tri United first, rolling starts of 10 participants per batch based on elite, gender and in alphabetical order for age groups was the order of the day.
SEA Games gold medalist and former Tri United winner Claire Adorna helped the other athletes by dousing them with water along a portion of the race route.
Podium finishers received Timex watches, Saucony gift certificates and Enervon Aktiv gift packs.